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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The marketing of the crossover; Fortnite and its endless collaborations

The marketing of the crossover. When I was a kid, one of the biggest back-to-school decisions was choosing a new backpack. Of course, the ones with images of Barbie, Power Rangers or Dragon Ball were the favorites. The quality or practicality of the object in question takes a back seat when what is important for children is that they have a drawing of their favorite characters. 

Of course, even if parents suggest other options for children, they always end up convincing them to buy school supplies that have drawings of their favorite series or cartoons.

This phenomenon is known as "pester power", and it can be summarized as the power that children have to annoy parents and influence family spending. The concept, well known in marketing, can be found everywhere, from chocolate, candy and clothing, to, as you already guessed, video games. 

Some journalists from the media are still surprised by the ability of the video game Fortnite to close deals with intellectual properties of all types, colors, sizes and origins. 

On an average server we can find Goku fighting a duel with Spiderman while Lady Gaga drives by at full speed in a vehicle. From Chespirito to Terminator, from Geralt of Rivia to Eminem, Fornite is the pinnacle of "pestering power."

As in traditional marketing, the product is actually an excuse to use the characters as true purchase motivation. 

The marketing of the crossover; Fortnite and its endless collaborations
Skin by the artist Lady Gaga that includes animations and other objects in the Fortnite video game. Courtesy of Daniel Sepúlveda.

This leaves us in a complicated position, since the inclusion of these characters is made so that players are motivated to spend money on the video games in question. Furthermore, the American Psychological Association warns that children under eight years old do not have the ability to distinguish persuasive speeches in television commercials and recommends doing more research in interactive media such as the Internet. 

One of the biggest problems in video games like Fortnite is that the commercials, that is, the elements that seek to persuade consumers to buy something, are found within the game itself. There is no separation between the persuasive element and the content that children and the general public consume. 

Of particular concern is that young children, for example, cannot distinguish mechanisms designed to make them ask their parents for money to compare the characters they want.

This type of marketing is harmful to youth. As an example, we can use the junk food and sweetened food business. It is especially important to remember the powerful commercial triangle formed by the animation houses that made shows for children, the toy manufacturers that used the children's shows as commercials, and the food industry that used the characters to sell candy and cereals, all fueled by the power of children to convince parents to buy what their favorite characters advertised. 

Interestingly, in Mexico, recognition of this marketing tactic led to a ban on the use of mascots to promote sweetened cereals and other products. That's right, for those who didn't know, you can no longer find ?Toño Tiger? in cereals sold in the neighboring country.

The marketing of the crossover; Fortnite and its endless collaborations
Example of the presentation of sugary cereals in Mexico. All mascots and drawings have been removed from the product covers.

That is why it is our responsibility as adults and/or tutors to develop these tools in children to differentiate between speeches and persuasive mechanics in their entertainment media. 

You may be interested in: Is Among Us an appropriate game for young children?

Hans Leguízamo
Hans Leguízamo
Audio and video coordinator of Peninsula 360 Press. Sociologist and researcher specialized in electronic entertainment, videogames and consumer rights.


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